The government has announced the provision of new capital funding for schools, which could also see new teacher jobs being created.
Education secretary Michael Gove has stated that a £4 billion package will be made available to create new school places and to carry out maintenance and repair work to existing school buildings.
Between 2013 and 2015, local authorities will be given £1.6 billion of basic need funding to help them provide additional school places where required in their area.
In addition, between 2013 and 2014, £595 million of maintenance funding will be made available for local authority-maintained schools and Sure Start children's centres, as well as £392 million for the maintenance of academy buildings.
The government is also allocating £154 million to support the maintenance capital needs of voluntary-aided schools in 2013-14, £200 million of devolved formula capital for schools and £15 million for independent specialist providers between 2013 and 2015.
Mr Gove explained that over the past year the Department for Education had worked with local authorities to ensure funding for new schools places was allocated fairly across the country.
He stated: "Local authorities told us that funding should be allocated based solely on projected shortfalls between the places available and the places required within the smaller planning areas that they use when assessing the need for new school places.
"They also said that funding should be confirmed for at least two years in order to aid better planning."
Furthermore, the education secretary stated that changes to the annual school capacity survey meant the department for the first time possessed detailed information about pressure points within individual authority areas.
He also announced the launch of the new Targeted Basic Need Programme, through which local authorities will be able to bid for funding for opening new academies and free schools, or for expanding existing good and outstanding schools.
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, described this allocation as an admission that the free schools policy had not addressed local need for school places, resulting in new schools being built where they were not required.
Posted by Alan Douglas